Theft from Customs Warehouse Incurs Duty & Import VAT

05 August 2013

The European Court of Justice in Harry Wilson (C-273/12) has ruled that the theft of goods from a customs warehouse gave rise to a customs debt under Article 203 (unlawful removal from customs supervision) of the Customs Code (EU Regulation 2913/92).

As the debt is incurred under Article 203 it is not possible to rely on the derogation under Article 206, which allows non-payment in certain instances of total destruction or irretrievable loss of goods as a result of unforeseeable circumstances, force majeure etc. Article 206 only applies to customs debts incurred under Article 202 (unlawful importation) and 204(1)(a) (non fulfilment of one of the obligations of the customs procedure.

The theft of goods from the warehouse also incurs Import VAT under Article 71 of the VAT Directive (2006/112).

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